Don’t Feel Guilty For Practicing Self-Care

In yesterday’s post, we touched on the fact that people, women especially, often feel guilty for spending time and resources on themselves. There are a lot of complex reasons for this within our society including a cultural belief that women can have it all as long as they do it all. As old-fashioned as it might seem, men's roles are frequently still seen as "bread-winners" with no other expected responsibilities. Women, even if they are contributing greatly to the family income, are still considered the primary care-givers in their families, too. I'm not making a point about this to knock men, especially many modern-day husbands and fathers. Rather, I'm commenting on what kind of an undercurrent persists.  Despite what anyone else may say, you deserve to focus on your own needs. In fact, it’s good for those you love when you take care of yourself. Instead of showing up exhausted and resentful, everyone appreciates your input more when you're happy and relaxed. You truly can’t fill another’s cup if your own is empty. I encourage you to find fulfillment in every area of your life. 

It’s Not Selfish

First and foremost, you must understand that taking time to care for yourself is not selfish in any way. It may be hard to get past the mindset that the needs of others are more important than your own, but overcoming this mindset is essential to allowing yourself to adequately meet your own needs. Care isn’t a zero-sum concept. When you care for yourself, it doesn’t mean you don’t care about others. In fact, it's the opposite. The desire to show up fully for your family and friends can be the best reason to make sure you are in top form, both physically and mentally

It’s Necessary 

Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It really is like the airplane air mask comparison. You have to ensure you can breathe before you can help those around you. If you’re tired, rundown and overwhelmed all the time, you absolutely cannot give much of yourself, much less your best, to others.

It Sets a Good Example

If you’re a parent, investing in self-care is not only good for you, it sets a good example for your kids. Do you want your daughter to grow up ignoring her own needs at the expense of others'? Would you want your son to disrespect a woman's request for help or even for taking time for herself? If you don’t have children, taking the time to care for yourself can be inspiring or motivational for those around you.  When more of us let the world around us know why self-care matters, it may begin to change their minds as well. 

It Fosters Respect

It also sets a precedent for how you expect others to treat you. When you demonstrate that you value yourself and that you find worth investing time in yourself, they will respond in kind. Learning to say no and set boundaries is good for your relationships. It teaches others how you expect to be treated and makes it clear that you see yourself as a priority. This also creates an environment for others to do the same for themselves. Imagine a world where everyone was kinder, happier and more pleasant just because they practiced self-care. There’s no reason to feel guilty for that. 

It takes time to overcome a whole life of messages society has given you and that you’ve internalized. With practice, you can focus on the benefits and "rightness" of self-care and realize what a good thing it is. 

Sparkles and Love,

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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with life support. 

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© Barbara L Cummings 2020

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